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Teresa Purzner - Felix and Heather Baker Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow

Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2015
Home Department: Developmental Biology
Faculty Advisors: Margaret Fuller (Developmental Biology, Genetics, Obstetrics & Gynecology), Josh Elias (Chemical & Systems Biology), and James Chen (Chemical & Systems Biology, Developmental Biology)

Research Title: Using developmental phosphoproteomics to identify therapeutic targets in medulloblastoma

Research Description: Tumors form by hijacking cellular and molecular signals that drive growth during normal tissue development.  Photo of Teresa Purzner.When these same signals are re-activated later in life, cells begin to divide in an uncontrolled fashion thereby forming tumors.  Teresa is applying cutting-edge techniques in mass spectrometry to determine how certain signals are activated and inactivated during normal brain development.  By better understanding how these signals are controlled, she has been able to create drugs that specifically target brain tumors while avoiding damage to normal brain.  She is particularly interested in studying childhood brain tumors, where this targeted approach is especially important given a child’s greater susceptibility to current non-targeted therapies.


Teresa is completing the final years of her neurosurgery residency. She is also the co-PI on a NIH-funded clinical trial run by the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, which is investigating the role of CK2 inhibitors in the treatment of SHH medulloblastoma. This trial was a direct result from her Stanford Bio-X funded thesis studies. Teresa also serves as CSO of Cerebelly, a nutritious baby food line that she co-founded while at Stanford.